November 10, 2011; Columbus, OH, USA; Chicago Blackhawks fans celebrate after the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. Chicago defeated Columbus 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports
Game #5– Chicago Blackhawks (4-0-0) at Columbus Blue Jackets (1-2-1)
Game Time– 6:00 pm Central
TV-CSN Chicago or Fox Sports Ohio for Columbus
The Blackhawks face for the first time this year divisional foe Columbus Blue Jackets. While it is easy to chalk up another two points for the Hawks let us not forget these are not the same Columbus Blue Jackets.
Last year the Blackhawks swept all six of their contests with Columbus but this is a new year with many changes on the Columbus Blue Jackets. They have significant roster changes due to trades.
They now have Jack Johnson from the Jeff Carter trade to LA, on the blue line with James Wisniewski. This makes a solid first line pairing. They also shored up their D with the acquisition of Adrian Aucoin which will give veteran stability to the youth on the backend. Columbus will not be as easy to score on this year.
The Blue Jackets also obtained Sergei Bobrovsky from the Philadelphia Flyers in the offseason. This move now relegates Steve Mason to back-up goaltending duties.
The biggest change on Columbus is obviously the departure of offensive star Rick Nash to the New York Rangers. The Blue Jackets did however get in return from New York forwards Nick Foligno, Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky. While they are not Nash, they do provide Columbus a more balanced attack.
The Columbus Blue Jackets are a work in progress but the Blackhawks need to guard against looking past them to Detroit. Look for Emery to get the nod in net for the Blackhawks with them playing Detroit tomorrow. Columbus is coming off of back to back losses to the Colorado Avalanche 0-4 and the Phoenix Coyotes 1-5 so they will be looking to rebound in front of their home fans.
It will be interesting as well to see if Viktor Stalberg continues where he left off last year with pummeling the Blue Jackets. Eight of his 22 goals were courtesy of Columbus. Lets see if Stalberg can continue this trend.
Prediction – Blackhawks take this one to a tune of 4-2 in regulation on goals from Sharp, Bolland, Saad and Stalberg.
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